Thursday, March 30, 2017

Peter Neihart Golden Age Flintlock Pennsylvania Rifle























"This iconic American long rifle is pictured and discussed on pages 238-241 of George Shumway's classic "Rifles of Colonial America Volume 1." It is also on the cover and page 1 of "Kentucky Rifles & Pistols, 1750-1850" by the Golden Age Arms Company and James R. Johnston. Shumway notes: "A lot is known about Neihart from the research of Ronald G. Gabel. The name is variously spelled in the old records. . . Peter's father settled along the Lehigh River in North Whitehall Twp. in 1738 [he and two brothers arrived at the port of Philadelphia on September 26, 1737, on the St. Andrew Galley] and Peter was born in 1743. With whom he apprenticed is not known, but it is probable that he at least was influenced by the work of Andreas Albrecht at Christian Spring nearby. . . This rifle serves as a transition piece linking the Germanic style of rifle made at Christian Spring with the classic curved-butt Lehigh Valley rifles of the Federal Period and beyond. . . The two-piece engraved brass patch-box on this rifle, with the lid bearing the date 1787, has a finial of fleur-de-lis pattern. This is the earliest dated use of this pattern that we can be certain of. . ." It is also pictured in the "Bethlehem School" section of "The Kentucky Rifle" by Merrill Lindsay alongside two Herman Rupp rifles with very similar patch boxes and stock ornamentation. The barrel has a smooth bore, brass blade front sight, notch rear sight, and deeply cut "~PETER NEIHART~" marking in Roman style lettering on the top flat. The full length curly maple stock has a swirl pattern brass forend cap, an engraved and initialed silver thumb piece, wavy brass wire inlays and stud stock ornamentation, carved accents including a floral scroll pattern on the left rear, a cheekpiece with engraved silver star of Bethlehem inlay and molded edge, and an ornate engraved patch box. Several of the components also display engraving accents".








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Monday, March 27, 2017

The Battle of Fort Bull



In early 1756 French military leaders in Canada decided to send a raiding expedition to attack Fort Bull, which was built to defend a portion of the waterway connecting Albany, New York to Lake Ontario via the Mohawk River.  
On March 12, a company of men left Fort de La Présentation and began an overland trek toward the Oneida Carry. Under the command of Lieutenant Gaspard-Joseph de Léry, a Canadian-born seigneur, the force consisted of 84 troupes de la Marine, 111 Canadian militiamen, and 110 natives, mostly Iroquois. After nearly two weeks of difficult winter travel, they arrived near the carry on March 24.

Early on March 27, Léry's men captured twelve British men near Fort Bull. Learning from the prisoners of Bull's minimal defenses, he decided to immediately attack. 
As he had no field pieces, the only possibility was to attempt storming the fort by surprise. The fort's defenders managed to get its gate closed just before the French force arrived. The attackers managed to fire through loopholes in the fort's walls to distract the garrison, which responded by throwing rocks and grenades over the walls. 
After the defenders refused several calls to surrender, the gate was taken down by the use of axes, and the attackers stormed into the fort. Nearly all of the small garrison was killed and scalped. Léry's men set fire to the fort, which included several thousand pounds of gunpowder and destroyed the wooden fort.

Image result for French in the forest
French In The Forest by Randy Steele





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Monday, March 20, 2017

Ashley's 100

Pierre's Hole



In March of 1822, William Henry Ashley and business partner, Andrew Henry began to assemble "Ashley's 100". Ashley's 100 were men who replied to Ashley's famous February advertisements in St.Louis newspapers seeking.........


"One Hundred enterprising young men . . . to ascend the river Missouri to its source, there to be employed for one, two, or three years"

The criteria for the position was simple enough – masculine, well-armed, and able to work (trap) for up to three years.

The payment method was uniquely designed by Ashley. Leveraging employment costs, Ashley and Henry had their trappers keep half of their proceeds and forfeit the other half to management. In turn, Ashley and Henry would provide many of the materials needed to trap. Between 1822 and 1825, Ashley and Henry did several large scale fur trapping expeditions in the mountain west. Ashley's men, one being Jedediah Smith, are officially credited with the American discovery of South Pass in the winter of 1824. Ashley took wagons over it and later explored parts of the Colorado River Valley.

South Platte River


Ashley devised the rendezvous system in which trappers, Indians and traders would meet annually in a predetermined location to exchange furs, goods and money. His innovations in the fur trade earned Ashley a great deal of money and recognition, and helped open the western part of the continent to American expansion.

In 1826 Ashley sold off his company to a group of his employees who would later founded the Rocky Mountain Fur Company which would continue in the fur trade for eight more years.

The Rocky Mountain Fur Company went out of business in 1834. Competition, declining beaver populations and shifting fashions took its toll.


Cache la Poudre River


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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Battle of Guilford Courthouse




On this day in 1781, the largest, most hotly-contested battle of the Revolutionary War's Southern Campaign was fought at the small North Carolina backcounty hamlet of Guilford Courthouse.

Major General Nathanael Greene, defending the ground at Guilford Courthouse with an army of almost 4,500 American militia and Continentals, was tactically defeated by a smaller British army of about 1,900 veteran regulars and German allies commanded by Lord Charles Cornwallis. After 2 1/2 hours of intense and often brutal fighting, Cornwallis forced his opponent to withdraw from the field. Greene's retreat preserved the strength of his army, but Cornwallis's frail victory was won at the cost of over a quarter of his army.

Cornwallis would later comment, "I never saw such fighting since God made me. The Americans fought like demons."

The battle proved to be the highwater mark of British military operations in the Revolutionary War. Weakened in his campaign against Greene, Cornwallis abandoned his campaign for the Carolinas and would it lead to his at surrender at Yorktown.


"During the crisis of the furious fighting the famed British Foot Guards were embroiled in a close duel with Howard's Marylanders. At the crucial moment William Washington led his force of dragoons through the woods directly into the exposed flank of the Guards who were taken completely by surprise. The confusion created by this brilliant charge helped to allow the Patriots to disengage and survive to fight again". Don Troiani

Monday, March 13, 2017

On this date in 1758 the Battle on Snowshoes took place.


A group of about 180 rangers and British Regulars, led by Robert Rogers, were dispatched to scout French positions.
The French commander, at Fort Carillon, had been alerted to their movement, and sent a force consisting mostly of Indians to meet them.
The combatants met in a wooded area near Lake George, in northern New York. 
In fierce fighting, the British troop was decimated, with more than 120 casualties. 
The French believed that Rogers was killed in this action, as he was forced to abandon his regimental jacket, which contained his commission papers, during his escape from the scene.
This battle gave rise to the tale that Rogers escaped capture by sliding 400 feet down a rockface onto the frozen surface of Lake George. That rock is now known as Rogers Rock or Rogers Slide.
The battle was given its name because the British combatants were wearing snowshoes.


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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Jacob Albright Rifle



This rifle was made by Jacob Albright Jr. (1803-1884) of Centre County, Pennsylvania.

In around 1825, Albright left Pennsylvania and established himself in Wooster Township, Ohio, as a gunmaker, brewer, and grocer.

Albright learned his trade from his father Jacob Albright, Sr. (1766-1840). His grandfather was also a gunsmith. Albright rifles are rather rare but are very refined especially in the carving and inlay work.

The German silver oval inlay on the cheek piece has an engraved border and "J Alb" inscription. Multiple Albright family rifles and other articles are known with similar "J Alb" signatures.

“One of his rifles was shown to President Andrew Jackson and sold to the government with instructions for it to be put on display in the capital”.

Though most of his rifles were made in Ohio, they have a distinctly Pennsylvania feel and closely resemble those built by his father.

This rifle is late for the flintlock era and retains "Golden Age" details less often found on late rifles, including the distinctive Roman nose stock profile and carving on the butt.
It also has late features such as walnut for the stock and checkering. It is equipped with the standard style of blade and notch sights and as you can see double set triggers.
The lock is unmarked but has two molding lines at the rear. Engraving is confined to the "daisy head" patch box, which has 11 piercings, and the cheek piece oval.







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Monday, March 6, 2017

On this day in 1836 the Alamo fell.




The final assault on the Alamo came before daybreak , as columns of Mexican soldiers emerged from the predawn darkness and headed for the Alamo's walls. Cannon and small arms fire from inside the Alamo beat back several attacks. Regrouping, the Mexicans scaled the walls and rushed into the compound.
Once inside, they turned a captured cannon on the Long Barrack and church, blasting open the barricaded doors. The desperate struggle continued until the defenders were overwhelmed. By sunrise, the battle had ended and Santa Anna entered the Alamo compound to survey the scene of his victory.

                                                



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Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Skirmish of Longwoods


On this day in 1814, the Skirmish of Longwoods took place near Wardsville, in present-day Southwest Middlesex, Ontatio.

A British force of 240 troops and 28 natives converged an American raiding party, lead by Captain Andrew Holmes. The Americans were encamped along the Longwoods road at the large ravine east of Wardsville.

The Americans with only about 160 men had a protective defensive position on top of the west side of the steep ravine. The British were unable to climb the icy slope in the face of the heavy fire and were beaten back. As darkness fell at about 6.30 p.m. the entire British force retreated.
Holmes then retreated back to Detroit fearing a larger British force would soon arrive. The battle lasted under two hours: the British suffered 14 killed and 52 wounded. The Americans lost 4 killed and 3 wounded.

British-Canadian assault at Longwoods 1814.
(Painting by James Mason)


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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Unique English Flintlock rifled pistols, ca.1645-1660





"Expensive, finely-decorated pistols such as these were carried by many Royalist officers during the First English Civil War (1642-1646). King Charles I is known to have left a pair behind at Wistow Hall, Leicestershire, after his defeat at the Battle of Naseby in 1645.



The pistols had screwed barrels, that is, the whole barrel could be screwed into the stock. Their rifled barrels made them more accurate than most contemporary pistols. However, they were expensive to make and slow to load, as the barrel had to be unscrewed for unloading. This pair was made by the gunsmith William Upton of Oxford". 






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